Posted tagged ‘Israeli settlements’

On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused

February 17, 2017

On Israel, Trump Confuses only the Confused, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, February 17, 2017

(Or perhaps only the willfully confused, some of whom apparently prefer a “final solution” to a mere two state solution, are confused. — DM)

The Washington Post claims that President Trump’s remarks about Israel have led to confusion about how he views the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Reporters William Booth and Anne Gearan say that Israelis are confused, and they site conflicting interpretations of Trump’s several statements.

But Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, whom the Post also quotes, gets to the bottom of the alleged confusion. He says “everyone interprets this as they see fit.”

In reality, Trump’s comments were remarkably clear. Let’s start with the one that got most of the attention: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.”

Trump was saying that if the Israelis and the Palestinians like a two-state solution, he likes it too. Otherwise, he doesn’t.

This is wise. A two-state solution makes sense only if both parties want it. If that’s not the case, there is no sense in America trying to impose it, and Trump won’t waste his time pushing this option. Or so he is saying.

Trump also said to Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Both sides will have to make compromises; you know that, right?” Netanyahu responded: “Both sides.”

Again, there’s nothing puzzling here. “Both sides” means both sides.

Coupled with his statement that he likes the solution both parties like, Trump is maximizing the likelihood of a peace agreement (although, to me, the odds of reaching one remain extremely low). President Obama’s approach was to obsess over a two-state solution and demand major compromises by Israel. The Palestinians believed they could sit back and wait for America to extract such compromises.

Trump has made it clear that both sides need to make compromises and has signaled that he won’t focus on obtaining them from Israel alone. If both parties don’t make concessions on behalf of a two-state solution, he will conclude that this is not the solution both parties like. And he won’t like it either. Or so he is saying.

Trump also told Netanyahu: “I’d like you to hold off on settlements for a little bit.” On the surface, this looks like an attempt to obtain a small concession from Israel. However, I agree with Charles Krauthammer that Trump was trying to bolster Netanyahu’s position in relation to hard-line Israeli politicians who are pushing for a major expansion of settlements, including the building of new ones.

A sensible approach to settlements is permit the natural growth of existing blocs — no community can be expected not to build out as its population expands — but to forego, for “a little bit,” major territorial expansion which would escalate tension, hurt Israel’s international standing, and perhaps make a peace agreement even more difficult to achieve.

Trump’s statement is consistent with this thinking, which, I gather, is the thinking of Netanyahu.

Only the confused are genuinely puzzled by Trump’s statements. Those in the American mainstream media who suggest otherwise are probably just trying to make the American president look confused.

Netanyahu’s big chance

February 12, 2017

Netanyahu’s big chance, Israel National News, Jack Engelhard, February 12, 2017

(President Trump’s “disapproval” of settlement building consists of suggesting that it is not conducive to furthering the “peace process” and that announcements of more settlement building should be more muted. The “peace process” and “two state solution” are dead, at the hands of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. More settlement building certainly won’t revive the corpses, but won’t make either more dead either. It seems likely that President Trump knows that. — DM)

For eight years now we’ve been waiting for Israel to get a sympathetic hearing in the White House. That never happened with Obama.

Finally, with President Donald Trump, this is Israel’s big chance and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s big moment when the two meet this week.

Let’s not get this wrong and my guess is that there will be smiles and handshakes all around – but will anything be resolved?

Netanyahu’s job is to close the deal with Trump who is certain to be attentive but Netanyahu must remember the motto of salesmanship – “always be closing.”

Do not assume anything and do not take it for granted that Trump is fully aware of Israel’s position regarding Jerusalem and “the territories.”

Trump, with other things on his mind and other allies to consider, must be reminded that, one, he promised to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, and two – the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are the heart of the Jewish State. Trump may know this already but Netanyahu’s task is to “keep closing.”

If both leaders stick to the mantra of a “two-state solution” then we’re back to square one.

Planting a hostile “Palestinian state” into the Jewish heartland is no answer and it has been no answer ever since the 1967 “three Nos at Khartoum,” and it gets downright genocidal when we go back to 1941 and find the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, sitting on Hitler’s lap in order to learn how it’s done.

If Trump knew this but forgot, Netanyahu would do well to remind him.

Also what happened when Israel gave up Gaza and the torrent of Hamas rockets that followed.

Forget for a moment Israel’s loss of land and sovereignty under such a “solution.” But imagine a situation whereby the IDF would need Mahmoud Abbas’ permission to fly over “Palestinian territory?” This needs to be explained to this American President in terms of his own love of sovereignty.

Who says the Palestinian Arabs want peace? People who knife, shoot and bulldoze innocent civilians are in no shape to share anyone’s country.

Trump should be made aware of this.

Let alone the fact that the Palestinian Arabs, who were invented in 1964, have no historical claims to the Holy Land.

That, too.

So that should be off the table and it’s too bad that Netanyahu keeps bringing it up when instead he should be talking about the problem both countries face – Radical Islam. That is language Trump understands. The United States and Israel – we are both in the same boat on this and it’s up to Neyanyahu to bring that up as Item Number One that needs a solution.

Trump knows Radical Islam and that’s why he insists on “extreme vetting” against possible terrorists entering the United States.

At the same time, however, Trump has expressed some disapproval of ‘settlement building’. He has expressed himself politely on this issue because he intends to be a true friend of Israel and friends should be allowed to disagree. But there should be no disagreement if Netanyahu gets it right.

This would be Netanyahu’s reminder to Trump, on Wednesday, that the same type of people who are wrong for America are wrong for Israel — and to replace Jewish settlements with Palestinian Arab settlements is like extending a formal invitation to ISIS.

That too is language Trump would understand.

In one sitting Benjamin Netanyahu can undo the damage of the past eight years and herald the start of a beautiful friendship.

If he’s as good a salesman as he is a politician.

An empty condemnation

February 9, 2017

An empty condemnation, Israel Hayom, Dr. Ephraim Herrera, February 9, 2017

It appears that the Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law is not of paramount interest to the Muslim world. But make no mistake, that has nothing to do with any great love for Israel there. The Sunni Arab world, currently embroiled in a bloody war with the Shiite world led by Iran and its proxies — Syria, under President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah — is well aware of the unofficial alliance with Israel.

Israel has been providing Jordan and Egypt with intelligence to aid their fight against the Islamic State group, and according to unofficial sources, the Israeli military is also helping Cairo battle the Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai. Reuters recently reported that Jordan, too, was receiving Israeli help in its fight against the Islamic State and other Islamist insurgents on its borders.

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Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and the Arab League as a whole condemned the Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law passed by the Knesset on Monday. Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit described the law as cover for stealing Palestinian land. A Jordanian minister warned it would cause an escalation in violence and undermine any chance of a two-state solution. Turkey lambasted the law, claiming it gave “approval to the construction of settlements on the private property of the Palestinians.” It would appear that the law poses a threat to regional stability, but is that really the case?

Turkish Tourism Minister Nabi Avci voiced his country’s opposition to the legislation during a visit to Israel, but as expected, he was not recalled to Turkey. Nor was the Israeli ambassador to Turkey summoned for clarification nor did the Turkish denunciation make headlines in Turkish news outlets.

The same thing took place in other Arab countries. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry slammed the law, but there was no mention of it on the home page of the website of the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper or on the home page of the popular Egyptian website Al-Youm al-Sabia.

The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, which is funded by the Saudi royal family, focused on the response from Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said that though the Palestinians were losing their lands, they would not petition international courts out of fear of reprisals from the U.S. and Israel. Even the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera, one of the largest Arabic news organizations, did not cover the new law on the home page of its website.

It appears that the Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law is not of paramount interest to the Muslim world. But make no mistake, that has nothing to do with any great love for Israel there. The Sunni Arab world, currently embroiled in a bloody war with the Shiite world led by Iran and its proxies — Syria, under President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah — is well aware of the unofficial alliance with Israel.

Israel has been providing Jordan and Egypt with intelligence to aid their fight against the Islamic State group, and according to unofficial sources, the Israeli military is also helping Cairo battle the Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai. Reuters recently reported that Jordan, too, was receiving Israeli help in its fight against the Islamic State and other Islamist insurgents on its borders.

Furthermore, news of economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel have recently begun to surface. The Saudi kingdom fears the growing power of its Persian neighbor and is well aware that Israel could potentially become play an important role in its defense. So it’s no wonder that there have been no reports of protests in Muslim countries against the settlement regulation law.

Productive cooperation between Israel and Muslim nations, open or clandestine, is the best remedy for the 1,000-year-old Islamic hatred of Jews, which has depicted them as pigs, monkeys, and the lowest and most evil of creatures after the devil himself. That same radical Islam has become a threat to the Muslim countries, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, as it views borders between Muslim countries as heresy against Islamic law.

Yes, it is radical Islam that has been raging in Syria, Iraq and Libya, inciting the death of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions more. It has brought devastation, famine, poverty, torture and the exile of millions of Muslims who are attempting to escape the Islamic inferno.

The European countries who were quick to condemn the Israeli law have turned a blind eye to the Syrian genocide and the only apartheid regime in the region — which is perpetrated by the Palestinians, who forbid Jews from living in areas under their control. These days it is no wonder that the European countries are paying the price for their ineffectuality in dealing with Islamist movements in the form of the swarms of the Muslim refugees amassing in their streets.

Build, but shut up about it, says Trump

February 5, 2017

Build, but shut up about it, says Trump, Israel National News, Jack Engelhard, February 5, 2017

(“Not helpful in promoting peace. . . .” What, beyond the evacuation of all Jews from Israel, would be “helpful?” Israel has tried just about everything short of that. With every concession the Palestinians demand more; if they get it, they demand even more. The “peace process” is dead and Israel did not kill it. — DM)

Already a rift? No. Not exactly. But Israel needs to get some gambling smarts.

Trump is Trump and he already knows what he’ll do but keeps his cards folded. That’s the art of his deal.

For Trump the winning move is the element of surprise.

Israel’s leaders sometimes take their cue from the lovable fools of Chelm. No surprises. They tell the enemy every move ahead of time which is bad poker and bad politics, so wrong that it’s got Trump and his team rattled and irked. Now we hear that Trump is unhappy about more homes being built within “the settlements.”

Earlier the settlements were okay. Why the mixed signals?

Most likely, Trump is bothered that Israel keeps announcing each and every plan weeks in advance, which allows the entire world to gear up in protest.

Rather, Trump says, shut up and build. That sounds more like Trump who is asking Israel to play smart and to move only when the table is in your favor.

“Not helpful in promoting peace,” said his White House spokesman today – and where have we heard that before?

Never from Trump. So something’s gone wrong and I don’t think it’s entirely Trump’s fault, nor do I think here we go again. He’s Obama all over again.

That won’t happen. But over the years some of us have noticed Israel’s habit of going public each time it hires an architect. As for me, it’s been an astonishment how Israel telegraphs every move, particularly when it comes to housing in Judea and Samaria. Who asked?

What other country does this? What other country stops the presses to announce — Hello World, We’re Building More Homes.

Got a problem with that? – and in unison the world says yes.

That IS the wisdom of Chelm if you expect any other outcome, and that has to be the cause of Trump’s annoyance. Immediately Israel’s High Court gets into the act along with the “peace groups” and Haaretz and The New York Times and a day later France invites 70 countries for a Paris summit to denounce the Jewish State.

That leaves Trump boxed in and he says so himself, that it cramps his style and his space to maneuver.

How many times a day can he take on the entire world, as he’s been doing, and now must carry Israel on his back – as he has it figured.

All for no good reason except that Israeli leaders do not know when to keep quiet. Instead they keep rubbing it in and keep asking for trouble.

The trouble comes when they speak loudly and then expect the United States to carry the big stick…like stopping the UN from another 2334.

Have we forgotten that personally Trump owes us nothing? The overwhelming majority of American Jews voted against him. He knows this.

The same majority protests his partial travel restrictions, which means that while he wants to keep anti-Semites out, we want them in.

Even pockets of Israelis were shown on television protesting Trump’s immigration pause. That hurt and it sure wasn’t “helpful” in terms of friendship.

Now we hear that Trump favors a two-state solution and where did he get that if not from Benjamin Netanyahu who keeps promoting that dangerous nonsense.

We can’t ask Trump to be more Jewish than the Jews or more Israeli than the Israelis.

Our only claim on Trump is that we are family. The United States and Israel share the same values.

Only Israel can be counted on through thick or thin throughout the region and he needs Israel as much as Israel needs him.

Trump knows this. But he’s asking Israel to play by new rules, which is to shut up and deal only when the time is right.

Trump Changes US Policy on Settlements, But Will Netanyahu Pick Up the Ball?

February 3, 2017

Trump Changes US Policy on Settlements, But Will Netanyahu Pick Up the Ball?, The Jewish PressStephen Leavitt, February 3, 2017

battered-bibi-syndrome-2-768x525Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

The official White House statement thoroughly rejects the JPost’s quote, craftily eliminating both concerns: Trump is not committed to a two-state solution, and he does not consider the settlements an obstacle to peace.

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For the first time in many years, the White House on Thursday released a statement regarding Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria without the adjectives “illegal” or “illegitimate” next to the word “settlements.”

While not 100 percent perfect — a policy of benign neglect would be best — it is clearly a complete turnaround from previous administration positions, particularly former-President Obama’s “not one brick anywhere” policy, including Jerusalem.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary

“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

In other words, what began a few months ago as a video of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking why should having Jews living in Judea and Samaria be considered an impediment to peace – is now US foreign policy.

 

In addition to the biggest item of recognizing the legitimacy of the settlements, by omitting the words “illegal” and “illegitimate,” the statement actually declares, for all the world to see: “We don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace.”

It should be noted that even that one seemingly negative-note in the Trump statement against new settlements or expansion isn’t exactly that:

“the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

First of all, the statement gives implicit approval to construction within existing settlements, and not just to communities within the settlement blocs (i.e. Gush Etzion, Ariel, etc), but rather to all settlements. This is a much wider definition, and includes many smaller Jewish communities that exist outside of the blocs, representing some 80,000 Jews.

Not to name names, but that’s more settlement legitimacy than what even some members of Netanyahu’s cabinet recognize.

Furthermore, it doesn’t actually forbid or rebuke Israel if it does build a new settlement or expand beyond the borders of an existing one. The White House statement merely questions if it is helpful to achieving peace, and leaves that question open for further discussion.

The other glaring omission in the Trump White House statement is the term “two-state solution,” so beloved by every Administration since the 1993 Oslo Accords. Why, only last Wednesday, the new, relatively pro-Israel UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, had his spokesperson release a statement saying that,

“the recent announcement by the Israeli Government to advance 5,000 settlement units in the occupied West Bank could […] threaten to unravel plans for a two-State solution between Israelis and Palestinians. […] We once again warn against any unilateral actions that can be an obstacle to a negotiated two-state solution.”

Having praised the Trump statement so much, it’s also easy to realize that there must be some conflict within the Administration over the settlements issue, with one faction obviously pushing the traditional State Department line.

Rumor has it that the White House statement was released not so much as a response to Netanyahu’s recent settlement construction announcements, but in response to an unauthorized leak from within the Administration to the Jerusalem Post, which the latter reported Thursday:

“The White House warned Israel on Thursday to cease settlement announcements that are ‘unilateral’ and ‘undermining’ of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post. For the first time, the administration confirmed that Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict negotiated between the parties.”

The official White House statement thoroughly rejects the JPost’s quote, craftily eliminating both concerns: Trump is not committed to a two-state solution, and he does not consider the settlements an obstacle to peace.

Indeed, the White House statement acknowledges the value and validity of the Israeli PM in forging US foreign policy:

“The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

This is tantamount to an Obama statement saying: “The Obama administration will decide on the Iran nuclear deal after continued discussions with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits to speak to Congress on March 3, 2015.” Yes, that’s how impossibly big this statement is.

It is now entirely up to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Will Netanyahu have what it takes to change forever Israel’s future? Will he take full advantage of Trump’s invitation to help forge US foreign policy in a way that bolsters the Zionist vision? Will he step back from his Bar Ilan speech, and return to his former, maximalist positions?

From the White House statement it appears that the ball is completely in Netanyahu’s court.

Paris peace conference: No “acceptable” solution for Israel and “Palestinians” except two states

January 16, 2017

Paris peace conference: No “acceptable” solution for Israel and “Palestinians” except two states, Jihad Watch

“The participants also stressed the need for the final peace deal that would give full statehood to Palestinians while satisfying Israel’s security needs.

Is that possible? No, given the Qur’anic imperative to “drive them out from where they drove you out” (2:191). Any “Palestinian” state would simply become a new base for jihad attacks against a diminished Israel. Because these political elites have resolutely refused to face the reality of the jihad, they cannot and will not recognize that fact.

kerry-and-mogherini

“Paris peace conference: No ‘acceptable’ solution except two states,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2017:

The 70 participants in the Paris peace initiative stressed the need for a two-state solution and rejected any unilateral moves by Israelis or Palestinians to prejudice a final peace deal.

In a joint declaration at the conclusion of the conference Sunday, the countries’ representatives restated that a two-state solution is the only one acceptable to the international community and called on both sides to act accordingly.

The participants “reaffirmed that a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.

“They emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.”

The participants also stressed the need for the final peace deal that would give full statehood to Palestinians while satisfying Israel’s security needs.

“A negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides,” the statement read, “including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that began in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of [the relevant] United Nations Security Council resolutions”

The conference discussed the situation in Gaza and participants “noted the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift steps to improve the situation.”

Furthermore, the participants urged both Israelis and Palestinians “comply with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.”

The final statement referenced the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which “clearly condemned settlement activity, incitement and all acts of violence and terror, and called on both sides to take steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground,” as well as “the recommendations of the Quartet on 1 July 2016 and the United States Secretary of State’s principles on the two-state solution on 28 December 2016.”…

The world’s obsessive hostility towards the Jews

January 13, 2017

The world’s obsessive hostility towards the Jews, Israel National News, Richard Mather, January 13, 2017

(Please see also, Obama’s Transparent Presidency. — DM)

Syria is dying, Islamists are murdering European civilians, ISIS and affiliated groups are on the rampage in the Middle East, food and water are in short supply in Africa. And so it is remarkable that the nations of the world have gathered against tiny Israel in order to dispossess Jews of what little land they have in order to create a twenty-third Arab state called Palestine.

Indeed, it is all the more remarkable when one considers the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have no historical, cultural or legal rights to the land of Israel.

That the Palestinian Arabs are endowed with so much international and economic patronage by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the Obama White House is testament to the world’s perpetual hatred towards the Jews. How did the Palestinians and their international backers manage to achieve such a feat? Why does the world revolve around the Palestinians?

There are several answers to this. One is the Palestinians’ cynical calculus of terror. They have learned that violence is rewarded by the international community. Palestinians do not want a peaceful political solution, not when terrorism reaps dividends. That’s why Yasser Arafat instigated the second intifada. He did it to mask his rejection of the Camp David deal in 2000. And what happened? The world blamed Israel for the “occupation,” which garnered further sympathy for the Palestinians.

Fatah and Hamas know that terrorism focuses worldwide attention on Israel. The Palestinians  want the conflict and the boycotts to continue because they exert unbearable pressure on the Jewish state. Should a Palestinian state come into being, don’t expect terrorism to go away. On the contrary, a Palestinian state will be the launchpad for further attacks on the shrinking Jewish state.

Indeed, ethnic cleansing of the Jews is the ultimate aim of the Palestinians. A Palestinian state does not entail a peaceful political or diplomatic solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. When Palestinians and their supporters chant “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” they are calling for the genocide and/or mass expulsion of millions of Israelis – not just Israelis in the so-called ‘West Bank’ but Israel in its entirety.

There is another reason the world wants a Palestinian state: it is an opportunity for the nations to eradicate thousands of years of Jewish history. Places of importance have already been appropriated by our enemies. Me’arat ha-Makhpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs) and Kever Rakhel (Rachel’s Tomb) are now considered integral to a future State of Palestine.

Worse still, the Palestinians have appropriated the Kotel – the Kotel! – as an Islamic holy site named Al-Buraq. Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has said that the Western Wall and “all its various parts, structures and gates, are an inseparable part of the al-Aqsa compound.”

And PA-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, believes that Kotel belongs to the Muslims alone. In an interview with German magazine Die Welt, he stated: “There is not a single stone in the Wailing Wall relating to Jewish history. The Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, neither religiously nor historically. The Committee of the League of Nations recommended in 1930, to allow the Jews to pray there, in order to keep them quiet. But by no means did it acknowledge that the wall belongs to them.”

Since it is clear that the Palestinians are not interested in peaceful co-existence with Jews; since the decay of Arab nations in the Middle East looks set to continue; since Jewish holy sites are in grave danger; and since it is highly likely that a Palestinian state will be a human rights disaster, wouldn’t it be better for the international community to put aside childish notions of a State of Palestine and lavish their time and resources on more important matters?

Evidently not. Kurdish independence, the Syrian crisis, chronic starvation in Africa, Islamic State, child sex slavery, and so on, are apparently (and shamefully) very low down on the world’s list of priorities. Given that there are so many pressing issues, it is deliberately perverse of the nations to pursue the creation of an autocratic state (or worse still an Islamist republic) called Palestine, which will be the only place on the planet that is officially Judenrein, i.e. “cleansed of Jews.”

It is clear that the world’s desire to create an anti-Semitic Palestinian state – regardless of the human cost and at the expense of more urgent issues – is driven by an obsessive hostility towards the Jewish people and Jewish culture, as well as a hatred for Judaism. To put it another way, it is racially and religiously-inspired anti-Semitic bloodlust.